The Los Angeles Department of City Planning recently announced an ambitious and potentially far reaching reorganization based on two principles: First, entitlement projects will be staffed by a single Planning Department staff member who will handle all the entitlements work on a project, from advising the applicant before the case is filed, through the public hearings, and to issuing the final sign-offs for building permits. Second, all of the Planning Departments case processing will take place within one of four Geographic Divisions organized within the Community Planning Bureau in order to allow staff members to focus more closely on particular communities. The department-wide change follows the first step in the geographic reorganization that began during the summer of 2008 and included the San Fernando Valley area.
Currently, the Planning Department processes cases using a centralized structure in which certain types of cases, such as tract maps, variances, or conditional use permits, are processed by specialized units according to the type of entitlement sought. For example, all subdivision cases are handled by a single unit, without regard to the geographic location of the project. Variances requested by the same applicant would be handled by another office. A zone change required for the same project would be handled by yet another unit in the Planning Department.